2 Ways to Boost Your Iron Intake without Supplements

  • 3 Minutes Read
  • May 10, 2016

What is the most common nutrient deficiency in the world? Iron! Iron deficient anemia affects over 3 million Americans, making it the most common blood disorder in the U.S. Try these two quick and easy tips to boost your iron intake without supplements.

2 Ways to Boost Your Iron Intake without Supplements

What is the most common nutrient deficiency in the world? Even though most of the trending nutrition talk today is about omega three fatty acids, vitamin D, calcium and magnesium, the most common nutrient deficiency in the world is iron. Iron is a mineral that is needed to carry oxygen throughout your body. Iron deficient anemia affects over 3 million Americans, making it the most common blood disorder in the U.S.

Even though everyone is at risk for iron deficient anemia, these populations are at greatest risk:

One of my clients experienced this,

"I was diagnosed with anemia after my first child. I was pale, very fatigued, I had no energy. I would fall asleep while breastfeeding, which is really how tired it made me. My whole body felt like it would just collapse because my muscles felt so weak. I started eating more lean beef, red meat and snacking on turkey and kale."

What are the most common symptoms of iron deficiency?

However, because these symptoms could also be common for other health issues, diagnosis by a blood test is essential to confirm iron deficiency anemia.

If you have an iron deficiency or are worried that you might have an iron deficiency, start by following these two quick and easy tips.

1. Focus on eating foods that are iron rich from both animal and plant sources

When you think of iron rich foods, the first thing you probably think of is liver. Yes, liver is an excellent source of iron; however, there are many other animal foods and plant foods that are also good sources of iron.

Some of the best animal sources are:

Some of the best plant sources are:

2. Boost Iron Absorption by eating an iron rich food and a food high in vitamin C at every meal.

Your body absorbs the iron from animal sources 2 to 3 times better than from plant sources. However, you can increase the iron absorption from plant sources in two ways. If you eat meat, fish or poultry in the same meal as plant sources of iron, the percentage of iron absorbed from the plant source increases. Also, if you eat or drink a food rich in vitamin C at the same meal, you can also increase the iron absorption from the plant source.

For example:

By trying these two quick and simple tips of eating iron rich foods from both animal and plant sources and combining an iron rich food and vitamin C rich food at every meal, you can help increase the iron levels in your blood. Remember though, since the lifespan of a red blood cell is 120 days, it may take up to 4 months of intentional eating before your energy levels are back up to normal and your symptoms disappear.

Start today by eating a bowl of iron-rich breakfast cereal and a glass of orange juice!

Foods & Recipes->"Beans, Peas, & Soy" Foods & Recipes->Fish & Seafood Foods & Recipes->Red Meat Meal Planning & Diets->Vegetarian Nutrients->Iron Other Health Issues->Energy & Fatigue
Martha M. Henze
Martha M. Henze, MPH, MS, RDN - Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Global Public Health Epidemiologist

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